Fall 2020 updates for J-1 students and scholars

Aug. 7, 2020


The U.S. Department of State has notified MU of the following key provisions for students and scholars in J-1 visa status for the fall 2020 semester.

New J-1 students and scholars

The guidance states that host institutions “should have reinstated partial to full-time classroom participation or be able to meet other formal in-person requirements before hosting new participants.” The University of Missouri’s Show Me Renewal Plan outlines specific guidance for a full in-person return to campus for the fall 2020 semester. Currently, MU plans to implement a hybrid academic model, which allows for face-to-face, blended and fully online courses. This hybrid model allows the university to continue inviting and hosting J-1 students and scholars for fall 2020 and spring 2021.

Online coursework

J-1 students may engage in online coursework and maintain active status. Students should continue to seek guidance from their faculty and academic advisers to ensure they are making normal progress toward academic program completion. No specific restrictions to online course enrollment have been provided for continuing J-1 students.

J-1 students and scholars outside the U.S.

The SEVIS records of J-1 students and scholars who have left the U.S. since the spring 2020 semester may be kept active until they are able to return to the U.S. to continue their original program objectives. Students outside the U.S. must be enrolled full time (or with appropriate reduced course load authorization) in order to keep their records active. Students and scholars should be mindful of the validity dates of their J-1 visas. They may need to renew their visas before returning to the U.S.

Host departments

Host departments may continue to make work place and project adjustments and accommodations for J-1 scholars due to the pandemic as they would for domestic faculty, staff and students. Departments should update the international scholar adviser of:

  • Any substantial changes to a scholar’s program, particularly if the original program objectives cannot be accomplished in the current environment.
  • The departure dates of any current scholars.
  • The arrival of any new scholars.

For the most current campus updates, please refer to the Show Me Renewal website and the ISSS COVID-19 updates. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. Advising appointments are available online or by phone.